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Katherine Hawthorne stands smiling posting for the camera, holding up a medium size green leaf plant.

Green thumb begets small business for engineering student

Katherine Hawthorne has run her business, Hawthorne Plant Design Co., all while maintaining her Engineering studies.

March 7, 2022 — 

In our modern cities of sprawling concrete jungles, a little greenery is always appreciated to brighten up any living space. During her time as a student at the Price Faculty of Engineering, Katherine Hawthorne started Hawthorne Plant Design Co. as a hobby, inspired by a deep passion for plants and the outdoors. “I would honestly be happy to spend all day looking at plants,” Katherine says.

After registering Hawthorne Plant Design Co. as a Manitoba small business back in 2019, Katherine used some of the skills learned during her time as a Biosystems Engineering student such as problem solving, soil science, and time management to help her establish and run her business. She spends her time at Hawthorne Plants designing and cultivating her plants by hand; home-propagated from her already existing plants such as succulents, tropical houseplants and tillandsia, otherwise know as air plants. All done with a sustainable framework in mind, Katherine’s time with Hawthorne Plant Design is spent meeting new people, designing set pieces for her Instagram, and setting up in-person plant sales (though they’ve been put on hold for COVID concerns).

Despite her love for all things green, Katherine has not been able to make Hawthorne Plant Design Co. her number one priority. Between balancing full-time school, part-time work during the Fall and Winter, full-time work in the Summers and other volunteer commitments, finding time for the business can be tough. She says that the engineering program has taught her a lot about effectively managing her time and had been hugely influential to her development of work-life balance.

Two hands hold a potted green plant. “Most of my home plants are home-propagated from existing plants including succulents, tropical houseplants, cacti, and tillandsia (air plants). This is my favorite way to cultivate plants because of its sustainability and enjoyment factor,” -Katherine Hawthorne

Katherine’s greatest source of inspiration comes from her love of the natural environment. Her passion for sustainability and environmental respect runs deep in the roots of her small business as she looks forward to interacting with the community once again when in-person plant sales are allowed to resume.

“My hopes for Hawthorne Plant Design Co. moving forwards are to remain focused on being a sustainable, community-centered small plant business that serves people on Treaty One Territory in Winnipeg,” said Hawthorne. “I aim to continue to promote respect, appreciation, and celebration of plants!”

To learn more about Katherine and Hawthorne Plant Design Co., visit their Instagram account


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